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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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102 Squadron Crest
08/09.09.1939 No. 102 Squadron Whitley III K8950 DY-M Sqn.Ldr. Murray

Operation: Knickel (leaflet dropping)

Date: 8/9th September 1939 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 102 Squadron

Type: Whitley MkIII

Serial: K8950

Code: DY-M

Base: RAF Driffield

Location: near Kassel, Germany

Pilot: Sqn.Ldr. Sydney Stuart Murray 26117 RAF. PoW No. 60, Camps: Stalag 10A Schleswig/Offlag 9A-H Spangenburg bei Kassel/Stalag 20A Thorn Podgorz/Stalag 6B Nieuweschans Emsland/Stalag Luft 3 Sagan & Belaria

2nd Pilot: Flt.Lt. Alfred Burke Thompson 39585 RAF. PoW No. 59, Camps: Stalag 10C Neinburg a.d. Weser /Offlag 9A-H Spangenburg bei Kassel/Stalag 20A Thorn Podgorz/Stalag 6B Nieuweschans Emsland/Stalag Luft 3 Sagan & Belaria

Observer: Sgt. Clement Ambrose Hill 580896 RAF. PoW No. 2, Camps: Stalag Luft 1 Barth Vogelsang/Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug/Stalag Luft 4 Sagan & Belaria/Stalag Luft 1 Barth Vogelsang (1)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Sydney Alexander Burry 524802 RAF. PoW No. 1, Camps: Stalag 357 Kopernikus (2)

Air/Gnr: AC1. Peter Frederick Pacey 567315 RAF. PoW No. 2, Camps: Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug/Stalag 357 Kopernikus


Taking off at 23:55 hrs, one of 12 aircraft tasked to drop leaflets over the Rhur (6 from 77 Squadron, 6 from 102 Squadron.

Understood to have been shot down by Flak over Thuringia, crashing near Kassel, Germany. All survived and became the first complete bomber crew to be taken into captivity.

Alfred Thompson right with Squadron Leader Sydney Murray with Luftwaffe guards.

(1) DELPH LAD’S BROADCAST FROM PRISON CAMP. Clement Ambrose Hill, Sergeant Observer of the Royal Air Force, who broadcast from a German prison camp on Saturday afternoon, is the son of Mr. Nat. Hill, of Slackcote, Delph. He is 18 years of age, and joined the RAF in April this year.

His father said yesterday that his son took part in a flight over Germany on September 9, and was posted as missing. He had to jump from the plane in a parachute, and dropped on high tension wires, but freed himself and reached the ground uninjured. After being detained at two aerodromes, he was taken to the prison camp at the Stalag near Magdeburg. The boy says he is in good health, and that one of the officers at the camp speaks English. They are given cigarettes occasionally, and are treated well. Sergeant Hill was training for the Civil Service when he joined the Air Force. He had been interested in aeroplanes from boyhood.

Published in the Leeds Mercury, Yorkshire, England on Monday 13 November 1939. (Credit: Paul McMillan)
(2) Prisoner No, 1 Sergeant Sydney Burry RAF, is British Prisoner of War No. 1, and this week his mother, Mrs. Kate Burry, is sending (in time, she hopes, for his twenty-seventh birthday) her 140th letter to Stalag Luft 1, Germany.

Mrs. Burry, who lives at Fieldview, Earlsfield, London S.W Told the Sunday Pictorial yesterday: "Sydney a wireless operator and air gunner, was sent to Germany on September 8, 1939, on the first leaflet-dropping raid of the war. "His machine was hit and the crew took to their parachutes. Syd, was actually the first to land, so the Germans labelled him "Prisoner No. 1" and the Briton who will have been longest in captivity when he actually is set free by us is "Son no .1 " as well according to his mother. "Although he's been as prisoner for nearly three years, his letters have always been cheerful"

Published in the Sunday Mirror London, England on Sunday 24 May 1942. (Credit: Paul McMillan)

Sqn.Ldr. Sydney Stuart Murray received the OBE on the 28th December 1945, he was then a W/Cdr. Retired from the Airforce on the 06th April 1957 as a Group Captain.

Flt.Lt. Alfred Thompson joined the RCAF in 1936. Canada was not officially at war with Germany until the following day of the loss. He became the first Canadian PoW. Alfred was taken to Berlin and made to pose in propaganda photos with Luftwaffe commander Hermann Goerring. Those pictures may later have saved his life. Alfred was sent to several POW camps before ending up at Stalag Luft 3 near Sagan. There, he was recruited for the Great Escape. Thompson made it through tunnel "Harry" but was recaptured soon after. As a single man with no children, Thompson was vulnerable to execution, but he carried with him the propaganda photo. Commission relinquished on the 24th November 1944 on appointment to the RCAF as Flt.Lt. He returned to university after the war. He became a lawyer, and later a Crown prosecutor, in Simcoe County, Ontario. He died on the 01st January 1985 at his home town of Penetanguishene at the age of 85.

AC 1 Peter Frederick Pacey 14th November 1946 - promoted to Warrant Officer - 567315. All the crew that were not commissioned officers were promoted to Warrant Officer after their release.

Burial details:

None - crew all survived as PoW.

Researcher: Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered - February 2017. Photographs from the collection of Michel Beckers. Thank to Paul McMillan for the name corrections and newspaper articles for Sgt. Hill and Sgt. Burry. Thanks to John Jones for the update to PoW Camp information.

RS 22.03.2019 - Update to PoW camp details

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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